- What is a U visa?
A U visa is a temporary visa issued by the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). It gives victims of certain crimes (and sometimes their children) temporary legal status and eligibility to work in the United States for up to 4 years. U visas are not available to all crime victims and applying for a U visa does not prevent ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) from contacting you.
- What should I do if I want to apply for a U visa?
Before submitting paperwork to either the City Attorney’s Office or USCIS, we strongly recommend that you contact an attorney who practices Immigration law. Since we are prosecutors and not immigration attorneys, we cannot provide you legal assistance or advice regarding your U visa or other immigration remedy. Even if you have limited financial resources, there are many reliable free and/or low cost immigration legal services in the Los Angeles area.
For a list of immigration attorneys and services, please download the Immigration Organization Referral List or you call 2-1-1 in Los Angeles County to get a referral to an agency in your area. Note: The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office provides this list for convenience only. We do not recommend or endorse any particular service provider.
- How do I get the City Attorney's Office to sign a U visa Law Enforcement Certificiation? (Form I-918 Supplemental B)
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office can only assist with part of your U visa application. That part is called a “Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification." We refer to that document as a U visa Law Enforcement Certification. The Certification is filed on a USCIS Form.
You must meet ALL of the following requirements to have the City Attorney’s Office sign the U visa Law Enforcement Certification for you:
- The case in which you were a victim must have been handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. That means that the law enforcement agency that responded to thecrime was most likely Los Angeles Police Department and the crime was filed as a misdemeanor. If your case was filed as a felony, this is not the correct office.
- You are or were the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf and,
- You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
If I have been a victim of a qualifying crime, what constitutes "helpfulness?"
California Law defines "helpfulness" as requiring a victim to provide information reasonably requested by law enforcement. The City Attorney's Office decides "helpfulness" on a case-by-case basis but some indications of helpfulness may be, but are not limited to, responding to a subpoena, appearing in court, providing an interview, testifying at trial. Even if you haven't done any of those things, we will review the case to determine if you were helpful to our prosecution.
U visa Submission Process for Attorneys and Pro Per Petitioners
In order for this office to review your case for certification, your case must meet the following criteria:
- The case was handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is a certifying agency generally for misdemeanor cases that occur within the City of Los Angeles. Please try to determine whether your client was the victim of a crime that was prosecuted by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office BEFORE sending your request to this office. For example, felony cases are handled by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. (If you have a court docket, “CA” means City Attorney / “DA” means District Attorney)
- Your client was a victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- Your client was helpful, is helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the detection, investigation, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the criminal activity. If your client is under the age of 16 on the date of the qualifying crime or is unable to provide information due to incompetency or incapacitation, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on their behalf. As per California Law, helpfulness is presumed IF, your client has not refused to provide information reasonably requested by law enforcement or this Office. See Cal. Penal Code Section 679.10 for further information.
Procedure for Submission
If you would like the City Attorney’s Office to review your client’s U-visa Law Enforcement Certification request, please follow the procedure outlined below. Failure to follow the correct procedure may cause delay in our review of your request.
- Send all requests either hard copy or via email:
Attn: U visa Coordinator
Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office
201 North Figueroa Street, Suite 1300
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Note: Sending requests to any address other than the one above will likely result in a delay in processing the request.
For purposes of our meeting the time deadlines contained in Penal Code Section 679.10, we consider the day of our receipt of the request (at the address or email above) to be day 1 of 30, or day 1 of 7 as defined by the statute.
- Include the following information in your request:
Case Name (Name of Defendant)
Case Number (or LAPD DR number)
Date of Birth of Defendant
Victim/Client’s Name (and "other names used")
Note: We do not file or retrieve cases by victim name.
Upon receipt of your request, we will review the case file.
If, after our review, it appears that a victim qualifies, our office will complete an I-918, Supplement B Certification and mail it to you by U.S. Mail at the address provided. If you prefer Overnight Mail or some other service, please provide a prepaid addressed envelope.
If you want us to send a copy by email, please provide us with your email information.
If, after our review of the case file, it appears that a victim does not qualify, our office will advise you of that result as well.
Note: The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is not the custodian of records for the Los Angeles Police Department and cannot provide you with a copy of the police report. You must obtain the report directly from LAPD.
We have designated certifiers in each of our branches. Accordingly, after receipt of a request, we will be forwarding requests to the appropriate branch. The branch certifiers are as follows:
- Family Violence, Pallavi Dhawan: Pallavi.Dhawan@lacity.org, 213-202-5467
- Central, Susan Kolahi: Susan.Kolahi@lacity.org, 213-978-7324
- Van Nuys, Ann Rosenthal: Ann.Rosenthal@lacity.org, 818-374-3300
- North Valley, Jane Lee: Jane.Lee@lacity.org, 818-374-6800
- Pacific, Jeanie Lewin: Jeanie.Lewin@lacity.org, 310-202-3861
- Harbor, U-Visa Coordinator: email@example.com, 213-202-5400
- Metro, Joyce Uyeda Yamamoto: Joyce.Yamamoto@lacity.org, 213-974-2400
How this will impact you
- Decisions regarding requests for U visa Law Enforcement Certifications will be made by the branch certifier and sent to you directly from the branch.
- If you need an update, you can contact the branch coordinator directly, or, if you don’t know which branch, contact the U visa Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-202-5400.
In the event that there is a problem that stems from a legal issue or a misapplication of the law, you can contact Pallavi Dhawan, Director of Domestic Violence Policy & Prevention, at Pallavi.Dhawan@lacity.org. However, please do not contact her for the sole purpose of changing a decision made by the branch coordinator unless that change is necessitated as a matter of law.
Other Important Information
Requests for U visa Law Enforcement Certifications are considered Brady material pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and cases following. The impact of this is as follows:
- If you provide information to the City Attorney’s Office to accompany your request for a U-Visa Law Enforcement Certification such as client declarations, letters, etc., that information may have to be disclosed to the defense as part of the discovery obligations of this Office. (See California Penal Code Section 1054.1.)
- If you request a U visa Law Enforcement Certification from either the City Attorney’s Office or LAPD while a criminal case is open, the request and any disposition of the request will be disclosed to criminal defense counsel. While we will do our best to keep the information from being admitted at trial, that is up to the Court hearing the matter. If admitted, it is likely that your client will be cross-examined by defense counsel regarding the request.